Movie Mondays 8: Big Hero 6


I am continuously surprised by how large and diverse the medium of film animation has become. What was once confined to fairy tails and princess flicks has expanded to every corner of every genre. One of the most lucrative and popular of these is the animated superhero genre.

Animated superhero films are now commonplace in cinema, but Big Hero 6 is one of the first to be backed by a major studio and be commercially and critically successful.

Animation has and always will be the best medium for telling a superhero story. Although  this is becoming less definitive with the strides currently being made in CGI, animation allows for visuals that would be impossible to put in a live-action version.

One of the first things that struck me while watching this film is how cool the microbots are. Everyone is talking about how great Baymax is, but forget that, how awesome are those little microbots? These things can quite literally do anything, and despite their sci-fi origins, you believe that they could actually exist and be doing what they are doing. The only unbelievable thing about these is that they are somehow controlled by thought.

I say this to all the scientists and future scientists out there reading this: why are we not focusing all our scientific attention on these things? I’m no scientist, so I don’t know how truly impossible or possible these things would be to create, but hell, we’ve done great things before! The only thing better than these microbots would be nanobots, which could (theoretically) take apart and manipulate molecules and even atoms and create any element or compound and even create others like themselves from said molecules and atoms.

Think of how revolutionary these things would be in our civilization! The benefits would be grand. Yes, there is some fear by scientists of a ‘grey goo‘ scenario, but what are the chances of that happening? Right? I could go on for hours and hours but I suppose you get the idea. Science, go do it.

Unfortunately, all of the characters save for Hiro are extremely, and I mean EXTREMELY, forgettable. For those of you who saw this film, tell me honestly, how many of the characters in this film can you name? How many members of the core team? “Well,” I hear you saying, “There’s pink girl, and stoner guy, the main character’s brother, what’s-his-name… Takeshti? Tadeshi? Tadashi? Yeah, I think that’s it. Is it racist that I can’t remember his name? I hope not.

My point is this: aside from Baymax and Hiro, all the characters in this film are unique, but not especially memorable. From the moment I saw the brother, I knew. “Oh, he’s going to die.” And, no joke, from the moment I saw Professor Callaghan, I knew that he would be the villain.

Think about it this way, what is the defining characteristic of stoner guy? (I’m not going to use their actual names because if I did, you would have to look up who I am talking about). He’s a stoner. What about the gum-chewing wheel girl? In the words of Sonic the Hedgehog, she’s “gotta go fast!” What about the happy pink girl? She is, well, happy and pink. I’m sure you get the point by now. It is a really bad sign when the most defining attributes of the characters in a film are the physical ones. No one ever describes Dori from Finding Nemo as “a blue fish”. They would instead say, “She has trouble with her memory, always helps a someone in need, and is about as selfless as you can get.” When a fish’s character is more complex than a supposedly super-genius child, than you know there is something left to be desired in a film.

Also, while I realize that this film is primarily intended for children, a lot of the humor fell flat for me. I have heard Baymax described as ‘adorable’ and I would agree with that sentiment, but so what? I honestly didn’t get too many laughs out of this character, and the fact that he was ‘adorable’ added nothing to my enjoyment of the film. I think he had some good moments towards the latter half of the film, but the end is just a rehash of the far superior film The Iron Giant.

The closing verdict?  I would recommend this film, but it is definitely below The Lego Movie for me in terms of enjoyment. While I did not hate Big Hero 6, I did see some serious flaws in it that were hard to overlook. Again, if you are a young kid, these likely won’t matter to you as you take in all the cool superhero-style action.